Regular readers of downthetubes will recall how earlier this year we reported on Britain’s National Railways‘ foray into superheroes with safety-conscious Captain Caution, back in the 1980s – but he wasn’t their only costumed crusader!
Back in 1985, National Rail came up with a superhero-inspired promotion with art by 2000AD‘s Ron Smith, no doubt in the hope that their Captain Caution would do for rail safety what the Green Cross Man had been doing to encourage kids to be careful crossing roads.
British Rail didn’t just have Captain Caution saving kids from harm in the 1980s, however. As we noted, the Rail Riders young rail enthusiasts club, originally called Great Rail Club, run by British Rail between 1981 and 1991, promoted by Keith Chegwin. It had its own quarterly magazine, Rail Riders Express, and downthetubes contributor Richard Sheaf is posting examples of its superhero strip, “Ben Racey“, on his Boys Adventure Adventure Comics blog.
Back in 1986, Richard won a year’s subscription to Rail Riders magazine thanks to a competition in new Eagle, and has kept his copies, which include “Ben Racey”, and a wonderful humour strip “Chuff”, by the brilliant Dick Millington, who’s perhaps best known for his work on TV Comic, on strips such as “Mighty Moth“.
Of course, with every find like this comes another mystery. Who was Richard Hall, writer and artist on “Ben Racey”? Does anyone have any information?
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.